Stakes raised for China as US politicians embrace Hong Kong struggle

For close to four months, protests have raged in Hong Kong. During that time, United States President Donald Trump has been a somewhat inconspicuous bystander. Last month, he described the upheaval as "a very tough situation" but praised Chinese President Xi Jinping for acting "very responsibly" - no matter the reports of excessive police brutality and Chinese troop build-ups along Hong Kong's border with the mainland.

The US President, it seemed, didn't want to complicate his ongoing trade war with Beijing by opening a new front of tensions. Mr Trump's former top diplomat in Hong Kong even described the protests earlier this summer as a "second-tier" matter.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 20, 2019, with the headline 'Stakes raised for China as US politicians embrace HK struggle'. Print Edition | Subscribe